Army deployed on Kettering and Northampton hospital wards to help after staff shortages
More than 20 soldiers have been helping at county hospitals
Members of the armed forces are being used by the county's two general hospitals as they battle against staff absences and shortages as a result of Covid-19.
Speaking at today's (Friday's) weekly press conference Eileen Doyle, interim chief executive for KGH, confirmed to this newspaper that members of the army had been used in patient-facing non-medical roles.
Ms Doyle said that 12 members of the armed forces are being used at KGH and nine at NGH after an initial training programme including infection control.
Across both hospitals 386 staff members (3.7 per cent) of staff have been absent due to illness or isolating due to Covid-19.
Ms Doyle said that the members of the army had been supporting the existing staff by handing out refreshments and boosting morale.
She said: "We were both offered additional support. With 3.7 per cent of our staff being off with Covid or Covid-like symptoms - many of those are health care workers and admin assistants.
"The military personnel we've got are non-clinical and we deployed them out after induction and infection control training to go out on to the ward areas.
"They have been fabulous - giving out teas and lunches, talking to patients, playing chess on some of our elderly care wards so they can have some of that interaction with patients who perhaps wouldn't get it because we're so flat out.
"We are really grateful. They have been super and they are here until the end of next weekend. "
The Armed Forces personnel at KGH and NGH are from 1st Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment based at Catterick Camp in Yorkshire and will be on the wards until the end of next weekend.